Palestinian-Israeli pianist Saleem Abboud Ashkar, who was born in Nazareth in 1976, studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London and the Hochschule für Musik in Hannover. At 17, he made his debut playing Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under Zubin Mehta; engagements with other Israeli ensembles and festivals soon followed. Saleem Abboud Ashkar made his Carnegie Hall debut at the age of 22 in a concert conducted by Daniel Barenboim, who subsequently invited him to perform with the Staatskapelle Berlin, the BBC Proms, and the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival. At the Salzburg Mozartwoche in 2006, Ashkar made his first performance with the Vienna Philharmonic, making his Salzburg Festival debut with the same orchestra later that summer, when he performed under Riccardo Muti. He has performed with the Israeli Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta in Paris and at the Ludwisburg Festival and with the Chicago Symphony at the Ravinia Festival, while with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra he joined in a memorial concert honoring the 100th anniversary of the death of Edvard Grieg in the fall of 2007. In Leipzig, under the baton of Riccardo Chailly, he also performed the First Piano Concerto of Felix Mendelssohn, marking the 200th anniversary of that composer’s birth. As a recitalist, Saleem Abboud Ashkar has performed at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, in Berlin, Frankfurt, Brüssel, La Roque d’Anthéron, at the Norwegian Risør Festival, at the Ruhr Piano Festival, and elsewhere. He frequently partners as a chamber musician with violinist Nikolaj Znaider and pianist Itamar Golan. In addition, he appears regularly at the Jerusalem Chamber Music Festival.
Last heard at the LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) on November 21, 2007, playing works by Medtner, Schoenberg, Haydn, and Brahms as part of the Debut Series.